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November 28, 2021 | Ed Stetzer
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“As they went along the road they came to some water; and the eunuch said, “Look! Water! What prevents me from being baptized?”—Acts 8:36–37 (NASB)
From kindergarten to my senior year, class began with the Pledge of Allegiance. It was a routine, and my teachers assumed I knew the premise of it. Well, I kind of did. But I didn’t fully comprehend its magnitude because no one took the time to explain it to me. Who am I as an American? What does the flag represent?
Did the Ethiopian man have a similar experience? He had traveled to Jerusalem and came away with a scroll of Isaiah. I wonder, though, what he didn’t come away with? Just think, he was in the holy city—the center of the Jewish culture and religion! I’m guessing the purpose of that journey was to experience some sense of connection to the Jewish God. But, as a eunuch, was that even possible? He couldn’t enter the temple in his condition (Deuteronomy 23:1–3). So, while he was welcomed as an outsider, he was prevented from gaining a full form of worship others enjoyed. This exclusion may have prompted him to think, Who am I in the sight of God? What does all this represent?
When he purchased the Isaiah scroll, did anyone take the time to explain who Isaiah was, the purpose of his writings, or the magnitude of the message? I suggest no one did. So, he headed back home. Then, in the desert pathways, God joined Philip to him, and the need for answers was met.
It’s almost as if the religious routine was another barrier to gaining a true understanding of Jesus. Take note: He asked Philip, “What prevents me from being baptized?” His condition? His ethnicity? Certainly, these were considerations. But God used Philip to come alongside the Ethiopian to reveal the nature of Jesus Christ, which led to true worship and salvation. Philip simply “preached Jesus to him” (Acts 8:35 NASB). This act of evangelism is put to the page in Paul’s letter to the Roman church. Paul’s basic point is how can people call upon Jesus if they don’t believe; furthermore, how can they come to belief without someone telling them about Jesus? They are missing the full gospel. He ends by writing “faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17 NKJV).
As Christians, we’re commanded to tell people about Jesus. We can’t assume that just because someone is an American or goes to church or owns a Bible, they know Jesus and are saved. Conversation is a simple step in evangelism, and it helps to determine someone’s spiritual radar. All Philip had to ask was, “Do you understand what you are reading?” (Acts 8:30 NKJV) and the Lord took it from there.
Pause: The same thing that prevents someone from knowing Jesus is the same thing that prevents us from sharing Jesus: silence.
Practice: Break through that silence. First, pray for opportunities to share the gospel with those God is stirring up to know Jesus. Once that happens, join with that person, ask questions, and listen.
Pray: Lord, Your Word is living and active and sharper than a two-edged sword. Help me to proclaim it and its truth. Open the hearts of those I can share it with so they will grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ. For Your glory let it be. Amen.
Lisa Supp lives in Utah and has served within the CCFL Web and Prayer Ministry since 2011. She also volunteers as an editor on the CCFL Prayer Wall and is a writer on the Communications Team. Retired from teaching, Lisa and her husband Ron volunteer at their local Calvary Chapel and share a passion for Scripture, apologetics, and education.